Partridge-berry – Mitchella Repens: Uterine Tonic of Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

Partridge-berry Mitchella Repens

Does anyone have an Anishinaabemowin word for partridge-berry? Not to be confused with wintergreen or cranberries, also sometimes called partridgeberries, or for lingonberry. Partridge-berries are an edible and medicinal evergreen vine, non climbing, with double-berry fused red fruits. The leaves have white veins. Partridge-berry (mitchella repens) is common around Haliburton, Ontario. The first specimen I …

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American Bittersweet – Celastrus Scandens: Our 100th Featured Wild Plant

American Bittersweet - Celastrus Scandens

In Chippewa, bima’kwud meaning “twisting around”, American bittersweet is much less edible and medicinal than our usual featured plants, but the berries on this vine are stunning in the fall and winter. Cheers to our 100th plant! Is it bittersweet? Yes and no. Is it very edible and medicinal? Nah. The berries are poisonous, although that’s …

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Mountain-Ashes – Sorbus SPP.: Rose Tree of Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

Mountain-Ashes - Sorbus SPP.

In Ojibwe, makominagaawanzh, mountain ash isn’t a true ash tree, but a rose family tree. It’s one of a few edible and medicinal plants with berries that look like tiny apples. Sorb apples for short. When Haliburton Flora was compiled, mountain ash (sorbus Americana) was fairly common on wet or moist lakeshores, and roadsides with shrubs …

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Honeysuckles – Lonicera SPP.: Nectar of Edible & Medicinal Plants

Honeysuckles - Lonicera SPP.

In Ojibwe, ozaawaaskined, honeysuckles are sometimes edible and sometimes medicinal. But always a favorite of nectar seekers like the ruby-throated hummingbird along with all-stars like scarlet bee balm and cardinal flower. Some human folks seek the nectar too. The most abundant native honeysuckle here is American/Canadian Fly (lonicera canadensis), which likes openings in deciduous and mixed …

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Spring-Beauty – Claytonia Caroliniana: Fairy Spuds of Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

Spring-beauty - Claytonia caroliniana

In Anishinaabemowin, miiaatikwek piniik, spring-beauty is one of our first spring flowers. It’s a small, striped edible and medicinal ephemeral and one of our first available bee foods. It even has its own specialist bee, the spring beauty miner. You might see non-natives like crocus and coltsfoot bloom first in the spring, before our bees even …

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Blue Cohosh – Caulophyllum Thalictroides: Woman’s Ally of Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants

Blue Cohosh - Caulophyllum Thalictroides

In Chippewa, be’cigodji’biguk meaning one root, blue cohosh is similar to its name twin black cohosh, but from a whole other genus of plants. They aren’t look-a-likes, but their medicinal uses are similar. “Cohosh” is from an Algonquin word related to pregnancy/women. Both cohoshes are species at risk of overharvest. Presently, motherwort is a more sustainable choice …

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